A basking baking smouldering heat reigns supreme and I can stand any amount of it.
The English, famed for their complaining over any slight variation in the weather, go into snivel overdrive, and it’s front page news all day every day.
Ancient Mesopotamia, with far more heat and dryness than us, had fantastic irrigation systems and lush lush vegetation. There’s far more than enough rainfall in the UK to mitigate for droughts. It’s the same old story. The same bunch of rich cunts cream off the maximum amount of profits, run down the service and infrastructure to breaking point, then blame the peasants. Trains, energy, farming, NHS, pandemics – you name it. It’s the same.
In the case of water, they’ve been pumping raw sewage into rivers for yonks and getting away with it – ask Feargal Sharkey. They’ve sold land for car parks instead of building reservoirs. It’s not their fault. It’s the plebs fault for watering their plants.
I remain astonished. Why doesn’t the whole population see what’s being done to us step by step, piece by piece, slice by slice, by the same world-coordinated so-called elites, who consider themselves genetically superior to the rest of us? When will people wake up to the raw brutal facts beating us over the head and stop calling it conspiracy?
David Bellamy was silenced for suggesting that climate change had been occurring naturally long before man was capable of interfering with it. Deserts where paradises once were. Ice ages. Yes there’s undoubtedly climate change, but like all the other sophisticated algorithmic propaganda that’s stuffed down our throats, I really don’t believe their version of it.
So many times, I’ve pointed out that our climate in the northwest (cotton mills cos it’s damp) is the best in the world. They will soon realise it and swarm here from the south and take our lands.
I hear of cars breaking down because their tyres have melted – that’s a new one on me.
Lammas, also known as Loaf mass day is a Christian festival occurring on the 1st August, falling halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. As with all Christian festivals, it derives from a much earlier Celtic pagan festival – Lughnasa.
During a period of despondency over being unable to keep on top of the ranch, I read a piece of prose by Albert Einstein and it cures me. He points out what I already know – that EVERYTHING is energy, vibrating at different frequencies. He then goes on to say that the solution to EVERYTHING can be found in nature. I just needed reminding – my version, that I use over and ever is As above, so below.
That’s why I don’t mind celebrating the pagan festivals, because they’re a part of ancient lost knowledge that can guide us in navigating the horror that grows around us.
As ever, Helen, Eleanor and I plan to meet later in the day to have a can of ale, light candles, light the stove or have a fire and chat aimlessly.
It’s a bright sunny day and I have the spontaneous idea to have a plot-to-plate meal up there. Coincidentally, it’s Tricia’s birthday and she’s coming round for her tea. We re-direct her to the ranch.
Helen and Mog arrive early and pick the rest of the soft fruit, scouring the hedges, finding bushes that I’d forgotten were there. The meal is a simple affair: a mayonnaise salad using freshly picked potatoes, beans, peas and courgettes, augmented with fried sausages and basil.
Apart from a brief appearance by Sam, I’m the only boy in the office. Louise and Lesley come up and Tricia and Eleanor appear later. I’m easy in the company of intuitive Celtic women and the ‘C’ word springs to mind (Coven silly, not that one): Left-handed, blue-eyed Celtic heads, you better watch out, you’re all suspects. I later joke to Helen that if I was starting again, I’d find a bunch of witchy women and buy a big piece of land to be self-sufficient and off-grid. We’d all have our individual little houslets.
People drift off, leaving us usual three. It’s dark by the time we wander down the track.
Despite the endless dryness of this summer, I still have a couple of thousand litres of water. In this still extreme heat, the greenhouse design has fallen down and it’s getting as hot as 40 degrees. Caterpillars and greenfly have moved in and plants are scorched. I need to put some more windows in the back.
I’m incorporating a solar-powered fan and drip irrigation into the new greenhouse.
My notion of getting more like-minded people involved is coming together organically. I’ve even had a couple asking to come and volunteer.
I don’t quite subscribe to the modern notion of volunteering because I associate it with the idea of people working for free, with the hope of it leading to a livelihood. I prefer the notion of ‘your, time, energy and knowledge for mine’. There are more and more people realising that building nature-based societies (like all societies in the past) is the way to sidestep the rising tyranny.
We’ve grown more native wild plants this year including henbane, which is steeped in folklore, rumoured to have been widely used in witchcraft.
Despite the dryness, there’s an exceptional potato harvest and large quantities of delicious cosse violette beans. I’ve concentrated on just a couple of varieties this year, so that I can save the seed.
Punk Rock Party
I can never tire of the wonderful winding journey over the tops to Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall, nor of the picturesque train journey through the valley.
I’ve been going regularly this last few weeks to help sort Ticker’s send-off. Despite the sadness, there’s no morbidity. It’s his closest circle of friends working together. I’m pleased to be able to help with the orchestration of it all. Ticker is guiding me. It’s tricky at the beginning, but it comes together slowly. The funeral director Paula is wonderful. The turning point comes when Carmen, Louise and I meet Bodie at The Birchcliffe Centre in Hebden to see if it might be suitable for the unceremony.
It’s a big old Baptist church and there’s a hostel next door. I immediately like it. So does Carmen. We book it and everything starts to fall into place. The meetings are convivial, taking place in a hostelry, with a bite to eat and a drink or two.
We plan a running order and Bodie observes that even if it all falls apart, it will be appropriately punk and it won’t matter.
We initially looked at finding a celebrant but Ticker wouldn’t have wanted a stranger.
‘You do it’. Annie casually comments one day. ‘He idolised you’. Aw, how flattering. I do feel like a bit of a hip-priest cunt mind (it’s a Fall joke), but what a privilege.
I’m reminded of the time I finally got into medical school on my second attempt. I spent every instant beforehand preparing impeccably. When I walked out of the interview, I thought to myself ‘I couldn’t possibly have tried harder or done any better’.
We’d already planned DJs and mentioned the possibility of bands as well. Along with the buffet and the bar, I was thinking it might be a bit much. Bodie pushes the idea and I’m glad that he did, realising that part of the greatest tribute I could make to Ticker would be to get up and play punk rock guitar, to see him on his way.
The couple of days beforehand are particularly consuming. The day before, I’m up early and I finalise the unservice and type it out. I get all the band gear ready: guitars; amps; mics & stands etc. Dave is bringing the drum kit. He played in Urban Blitzz with Ticker and in Screech Rock with Mog and Linds.
I’ve had a stunning 60s sparkly Eko model 500 guitar for over 30 years and Ticker always had an eye on it, asking me to sell it to him. A couple of years ago, I tracked down another (they’re very scarce) with a view to giving it him or trading with something of his ( he never did give me a spare copy of the Red Stripe single). In the end, I never got round to it. Naturally, I take both to the punk rock party. We were both valve amp nerds so I take those as well.
Finally the day dawns – Wednesday 10th August. The party starts at one. Again I’m up early. It was Louise’s idea to take the VW, because he partied in it a few times and liked the ‘rich man’s folly’.
Bless her, Louise has touched up some of the paintwork and filled some of the holes. I’m planning to sleep in it in the car park. Thankfully Sam comes with me, and once we’re parked up I’m relieved.
Bodie and Kenney are already there and the others arrive throughout the morning. Setting it all up is a pleasantly chilled affair – the decks, the displays, the band gear, the bar, the buffet, banners and so on. Bodie has produced a splendid punk rock unservice booklet.
I’m wearing a suit because Ticker’s wearing a suit – his red pinstripe one along with his fave hat and bracelets and dog tags. Hebden Louise has sorted a white carnation for his button hole and she’s coordinated the buffet. I’m also wearing one of Ticker’s silver ties and a rockabilly shirt. I feel over-dressed, but it’s OK – he approves.
Finally it’s here. Even the slightest hint of formality is gone from the start and every morbid convention is turned on its head and spat out backwards – punk as fuck. People wander in early. Annie and I had debated whether to open the bar before or after the unservice. ‘Probably after’ I suggest. Bollocks. People just wander straight over and get a drink. We’d no way of knowing how many to expect. There are lots. I’m pleased that all my lads and their mates are there and that Rachel is there with 6-month old Sonny. The next punk rock generation.
Paula arrives with her team about quarter past. It was my idea to get people to graffiti the coffin with spray paint and felt pen, so Carmen has chosen a plain white one. When the moment comes, they bring Ticker in through the back of the stage, past the drum kit and the guitars. The deafening cheer takes me by surprise. Bodie plays Guitar Wolf – Planet of the Wolves by Ticker’s favourite Japanese punk band.
We’d dismissed the idea of coffin bearers, but it happens anyway because we need to help lift him off the stage onto the little trolley. ‘Turn him round so he’s facing everyone’. Says Rodger, who, apart from Carmen, was probably his closest friend over the last couple of years.
I’m surprisingly un-nervous. Earlier, I’d felt a bit light-headed in the searing heat of the perfect sunny day, scared that I might faint. Lee (Vincent Black Lightning bass player) has come all the way down from Scotland. He says ‘Don’t worry, he’s by your side’.
Inger is another early arrival – all the way from London – she’s staying in the hostel next door. My heart swells with joy to see her.
I start my spiel ‘Feel free to heckle and spit’.
Bill, Ticker’s friend from the age of four has written a lovely early memory which I read out, then Carmen bravely gets up and says her piece, ending with a line from one of their favourite bands – The Queers: ‘See ya later fuck face’.
Bodie plays Travis Wammack’s Scratchy – an amazing explosive instrumental – Travis was 17 when he recorded it and Ticker filled me in on the detailed back-story which is why I bought it. People are wandering about and chatting – it’s more like a gig or a party – in fact it is a gig and a party.
Next, Trinli gets up and mentions that he was a Buddhist monk for some time and explains that Ticker is still with us for a few days, before he spirals down into the womb of his next rebirth, and that we should all be speaking to him. Lovely. It resonates with me, because I’ve been speaking to Ticker like that.
Peach reads out a Crass song, then more records.
I get up and do my bit. Naturally there are rude cunts chattering in the background. Excellent. I do my best to enunciate and be heard. Carmen gets up and starts the graffiti process and people wander down and join her.
I finish with something along the lines of:
‘It’s the end of an era, but the beginning of a new one. There are enough people in this room to make our own music and grow our own food and start our own revolution – fuck the government!’
‘We’ll all be channelling our inner Ticker – punk as fuck for ever and ever’.
There’s another massive cheer and never in my life have I experienced so much love in one room.
Tyler and I get up and play The Telephone Rings Again and Gaz joins us on bass half-way through.
The graffiti continues until naturally everyone gathers round. A quiet falls, in the knowledge that we’re finally saying goodbye. Again we lift him onto the stage and that’s that.
The party begins in earnest.
I can start to relax and it’s wonderful chatting to everyone – people say the loveliest things.
Bish is there and Vincent Black Lightning play a couple of numbers, then Notsensibles play I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher, with Sam on vocals.
The Strange play Fuzz and Flies, then a couple of Ticker’s old bands play with Dave on drums. The whole afternoon is splendid.
Naturally the Birchcliffe Bourgeoisie complain. ‘Terribly sorry’, I say to the lovely sweet girl who runs the centre ‘I’ll tell them to turn it down at once’. Privately I’m thinking ‘They can all fuck off – it’s a punk rock funeral and we’ll be done by 6’.
We drift into Hebden and Sam and I join all the lads and Sarah and Anna at the White Swan – the same bunch who have been coming to our house since their mid-teens. It’s beautiful and sunny and Hebden is so picturesque – I’m slightly proud and overwhelmed in a pleasant mildly trippy way. We did Ticker proud and I did myself proud. It couldn’t have gone any better. I desperately want to join everyone at Nelson’s but suddenly I’m fucked and Sam and I get the train home.
Back home, I feel a bit crestfallen and wish I’d stayed. I buy a bottle of champagne from Aldi to celebrate Ticker and finally crash.
I suddenly wake in the middle of the night and something snaps – a black ugly cruel darkness consumes me, raging, raging against the dying of the light. I long for a scrap of human tenderness. It continues into the morning, with poor Louise bearing the brunt of yet another twat tantrum. I know what’s happening. It’s Ying and Yang innit. Cunts like me can’t experience so much love in one day without paying the price. I make a mental note to refer myself to Cunts anonymous. At night, I wander to the ranch to watch the full moon and the shooting stars and sleep in my little hidey-hole, because I’m sick of sitting on my own in that old cunt’s chair in that room.
Next morning I’m sitting on the station, like an extra in a Paul Simon song, waiting for the train back to Hebden to pick up the van and the gear. Suddenly I’m consumed with guilt for not coming home from work to be with my dog when he was put down. That was five years ago. Wtf is going on? Similarly I’m sad that I didn’t reciprocate when my dad said ‘I love you’ when he was dying. What kind of fuck-up am I?
I have a big breakfast in Hebden square and briefly I turn my phone off for a quiet moment. I miss a message from Inger – her train wasn’t until one and we could have met up. I’m heartbroken.
I’ve no time for that grief shit. It’s no business squeezing out of the chinks in my armour when I least expect it.
It was Ticker’s birthday yesterday. I wanted to go to Hebden, so Louise and I picked Carmen up and we had our tea at Annie’s place. Rodger unexpectedly turned up and we had another drink. We’ll all be back next week, sorting out more stuff.
After a look round Hebden, we wind back over those magnificent moors, into the setting sun.
What a fabulous send off
Great piece Stephen
Ticker had a great send off, just wish I had been able to get there.
What kind of cunt am I? It’s a question we should all ask ourselves.